Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Another Whacked Wednesday Update

Hey peeps and anyone else checking in - thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read these random thoughts and rants. If this is your first time here...Wednesdays recap the weird, whacked and silly events and happenings in the world of sports from the past week.

Not sure how interested readers are in the NHL - but you have to sit back and scratch your head and wonder what the St. Louis Blues were thinking when they announced that they were retaining the services of Doug Weight, Keith Tkachuk, and will tender an offer to Chris Pronger... who are they going to get to play for them? I don't know how they are going to trade Pronger with that contract. I heard their GM talking about how this exercise wasn't "fantasy hockey" - that they were real dollars...that you couldn't just buy everyone out - I get that...I really do. But keeping Tkachuk? Geez...consensus is that he's not worth the cash and is one of the more over-rated players in the league. Oh well...someone is worse off than the Leafs (let's not touch on the Owen Nolan saga) least according to the Ottawa media who are predicting doom and gloom for Hazel and all other Leaf fans. All this from a group of so called "experts" that are expecting miracles from Hasek - haha, "vee'll see about dat."

Oh ya...and John Muckler was on record today saying that for Hasek - it's not about the money...its about pride. Yes's not about the money...tell that to the fans in Detroit, they might want to disagree with you there.

So what would Hazel think about this year's Leafs? Who would she sign?

No joke here - I saw the replay of what happened to Matt Clement...what an awful sight. I'm glad to hear that he is ok...and I just hope that this doesn't affect him when he comes back - I seem to remember hearing about this happening to a pitcher a while back...and he was never the same (he was gun shy and never got back to what he was, I just can't remember his name). for the stupid stuff. Red Sox fans must be laughing at the poor Baltimore Orioles. The O's have been ready to pull the trigger on a couple of trades...only for them to fall apart. I'm still trying to figure out how Nevin says "no, I don't want to go" and walks into the clubhouse...knowing that his ass was traded. I know he spoke about family issues...but if he is a professional, and has about two months left in the season (excluding playoffs) - shouldn't he have went to Baltimore? I think the Padres are making him pay for it though...Nevin suited up as a catcher last night.

Poor ol' A.J. Burnett's name has been mentioned in a number of a number of different teams, but he's still pitching for the Marlins. I like A.J. - he's been cursed with injury problems...but I've liked him ever since I drafted him onto my roto team when he broke in with the Marlins (long gone now - but I think he would have been proud to be part of Hazel's heroes).
The Marlins are also trying to get rid of Mike Lowell...once thought to be an untouchable. I don't get it..the Marlins are trying to jettison a couple of quality guys (I guess having won a couple of World Series entitles you to tank it every few years).

Check out Jeff Merron's column on - its about the 10 most overpaid players in baseball - Phil Nevin and Sidney ("Aruba Aruba - Andalay Andalay") Ponson were on there. A couple of surprises too...not that they don't deserve to be on the's that they made it on the list - notably Piazza. It's worth the five minutes it takes to go through it and ponder... The Chickenhawk must be smiling that no Blue Jays were considered for the list.

Seems like you can't be an NFL player if you aren't getting arrested...or being a malcontent. In the last few weeks...too many to list on the former...with respect to the latter
  • Terrell isn't happy about having to report to Eagles;

  • Javon Walker isn't happy about having to report to the Pack;

  • Ray Lewis and Ed Reed aren't happy with their contracts;

  • Travis Henry hasn't been a happy camper and the Titans are finding that out the hard way;
With all this turmoil in the NFL...who would have ever thought that my Dallas Cowboys would be seen as one of the solid franchises...staying away from bad headlines. Chalk it up to the Tuna.

Did you see Nick Saban? Saban went off on a Miami Dolphins rookie...reducing this behemouth of a kid to a blubbering mess - I felt bad for him...walking off crying - how is this kid going to make it in the NFL? Saban is trying to toughen him up - I would hire and elementary school teacher to teach the rookie the old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones...but Nick Saban's names will never hurt me." Memo to Saban...way to welcome a young player to training camp - try that on Ricky Williams.

Speaking of Ricky...did you catch his speech on "Freedom" and how he had come to realize what freedom really meant? I sat there in amazement watching him go on and on - when those close to him have said that for Ricky - its all about the money. I give him credit though...that was a knew angle to come from...Ricky should call up Dominik Hasek and sell him a copy of the Dominik - freedom is not being in a Czech jail. hahahahaha

More player movement in Europe - with a number of players heading to...or heading back to the English Premiership. Biggest surprise? Edgar Davids going to Tottenham.

Reports say that Inter Milan is in negotiations with Real Madrid to secure the transfer of Luis Figo. I'm mixed on this one...on one hand, I want to see him play top flight soccer - he's good enough and still has it. I'd love to see him playing with Adriano. On the other hand...not a big fan of Serie A - boring soccer...and I think this is a crappy way for Real to deal with a player that has done so much for their team. Still hating Real Madrid...Figo will have his day in 2006 - in Germany... when Hazel walks into work on a Sunday night to announce "Portugal, led by the old lion Luis Figo, has won the 2006 World Cup." I'm sticking to that is going to happen.

I think that's about it for tonight. It's been a long day - if I've missed something...feel free to leave a comment/suggestion...and once again, thanks for stopping by. So I will end this entry in normal fashion... first by sending my regards to Ms. Hazel...and secondly:

The song of the day on Hazelspeeps at yahoo... for guys who are being retained...released...bought out...traded...not traded...transfered...not transfered...I give you

Should I Stay Or Should I Go - The Clash

(I'm thinking that there should be a hazelspeeps greatest hits cd)

Peesth out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Let The Games Begin

Hey peeps and anyone else checking in - thanks for stopping by.

I started off this morning with a 6 km run (no, not with my running buddy) - went to drop one of our cars off to be fixed and decided to run home (28+ mins). The run this morning was a little painful, especially after having run last was an omen - the day would prove to be somewhat painful. It rained for most of the day, which meant I took the day to catch up on some paperwork - and of course, I made the mistake of turning on the radio to listen to the Team 1200...which was the primary source of my pain today.

So I'm sitting here sipping on my favourite Port wine, with some dark chocolate, and thinking about what to write about tonight - this is what I came up with:

It took less than five days for someone to start questioning the NHL's new collective bargaining agreement and how it won't be fair to their team. I turned on the radio this morning to hear about a columnist in Edmonton talking about how with teams being restricted on how much they can spend on players (with most having roughly the same amount to spend) - some of the bigger NHL cities will have an advantage in attracting the best players because of what their cities have to offer both on and off the ice. The guys on the radio explained that this column talked about how cities like Edmonton will be at a disadvantage in attracting players (even though they could match offers from other teams) because Edmonton can't offer everything that some of the bigger US cities and Canada's big three can offer. According to the article, cities like Toronto will be able to attract players to play for less money - because players will have more exposure and more opportunity to make money off the ice with endorsements.

The article touched off a discussion about current free agents and who would go where - and of course, the Leafs were the topic of discussion (funny how Ottawa fans hate the Leafs...but they are the topic of conversation about 30% of the time). It started with the idea that some free agents have already stated their desire to play with other players/friends in the league. Peter Forsberg has gone on record as saying that he wants to play with Markus Naslund - and of course Sundin is pushing hard to have them come play in Toronto. One of them started off on a tangent that would see the Leafs sign - Forsberg, Naslund, Jeff O'Neill, Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk (with the possibility of Lindros and Leclair too) all at discounted prices... as they try to make a run for the Cup. You could hear this guy start to work himself into a lather (he normally tries to come off a aloof and easy going). This started the calls coming in, about how the CBA is only going to benefit the big markets like Toronto and New York. To this I had to say "HUH?"

A few days ago, you were all rejoicing about how this was finally going to put everyone on a level playing field...and now because of one article written by a guy in Edmonton...the new CBA is crap (which by the way I agree - but not for that reason) and Ottawa and other teams who tried to build through a draft are going to get screwed again. This is "ree-god-damned-diculous" - it is a GM's job to get the best available players anyway you can - if its selling the lifestyle in the city...if its selling marketing opportunities...if its selling sentiment "Ask Hazel Mae what Boston was like when they won the World Series...wouldn't you want to be part of a Stanley Cup winner in Toronto?"...A GM's job is to do anything to get the best fit for the team - can you imagine the irony of the richest team in the NHL winning a cup under a salary cap? That would be so fitting...I'd so be at that damn parade.

This is going to be the way of the NHL from here on load up when you can for a run at the cup - like the Avalanche have done in the past. Teams are going to be able to build quickly through free agency - especially if most teams can only afford to have five or six top flight players...parity means quick shots and championships...before falling into the category of also-rans.

The late afternoon guys picked up on this idea today (this was after suffering through three hours of the Jim Rome show) . But the afternoon guys (two guys who sleep in sens pjs) were all over why free agents should want to come to Ottawa. One of them suggested that European free agents would want to play in Ottawa because the city has a European feel to it....HUH? The guy in question is a clown at the best of times (he came within a hair of breaking down a few years ago after another playoff loss to Hazel's Maple Leafs)...his hatred of everything "Leaf" is well known...but to go on and say Ottawa can attract European free agents based on the European feel of the city is absolutely ridiculous. These two condcuted their idoitic panel discussion they refer to "the meeting of the minds" and went on to trash Jacques Martin for his coaching style...and lauding Bryan Murray for they kind of coach he is (excuse me...has Bryan Murray won anything? has John Muckler won anything NOT built by Glen Sather in the 80's and early 90's?). Typical Ottawa crap...last year and in previous years they loved "he needed to go...he wasn't the kind of coach they need right now...his style of play held the Senators back" - I can't wait to see these clowns fall flat. No matter what Pierre MacGuire says...I wonder what Hazel thinks of the new CBA...and whether she could start planting the "playing for the Maple Leafs seed in the mind of Joe Thornton." hahahaha

Getting back to the afternoon spot with Jim Rome...the city of Boston was front and center on his show today. Boston has recently signed on to Rome's syndicated show (why I don't know) but today's show was all about the "chowds", and a bunch of weak references to "ManRam". I don't listen to Rome for a number of reasons...not in any particular order:
  • The Team 1200 doesn't stream his program over the net - not that our crappy firewall would let it through anyways;

  • He tries too hard to be cool with his mix of west-coast meets white guy ebonics;

  • I'm not too impressed with a host who applauds a bunch of white 20 somethings from the middle and southern states who have nothing better to do that stay up all night...scripting themselves in the cool "Rome-like" ebonics...panting nervously and breathing heavily as they try not to screw up...going on about nothing. Rome calls them clones...he couldn't be more right.

  • Rome is a pompous, arrogant ass who thinks that by repeating everything three times (with the pre-requiste pensive pauses) he is imparting wisdom or deep thought on his listeners. Witness today...tell the people of Boston that they might not "get his show...but give him two weeks and they'll get it." You have to tell some of the US's most astute sports fans to give you two weeks to "get your show" - picked the wrong bunch to talk down to...I'm sure Boston will show you "who gets it". How this guy has a gig on ESPN I'll never know (oh's only a half hour show...unlike his THREE HOUR radio show which has all of about 30 minutes in content - minus is repeating).
I know I'm hating on Rome...always have - he a close minded, self-righteous, ignorant ass who condescends to his listeners...and to things he doesn't understand (his hatred of soccer...though he knows nothing about it...but fan violence). This beacon of sports journalism had Roy Halladay on today - one of his hard hitting questions...which he paused for a few seconds before asking "Roy...The Jays seem to play the big guys guys handle the Red Sox, the Yankees, the O's, the Angels and the White Sox...what is it about your team that you let down against weaker teams like the Rays" - GEE Rome...that question hasn't been asked a million every sports journalist.

This is Rome's in-depth interview...where he gets at the heart of things...I mean...its where Rome goes...he gets right in there where few sports journalists go...he asks the tough questions (pause four seconds) he wants to get right down deep into the provide you what the players are thinking...the players takes (to readers checking in from Boston...if this paragraph doesn't make sense to you...listen to Rome for two or three days and it will). God I hope Hazel isn't a Jim Rome fan...that would be so disappointing.

Ok..I'm calling it a night...I have to call a friend of mine to catch up on things in our world...and I have a big day tomorrow. For those of you who got this far...thank you (damn..I feel like Rome tonight hahahaha a lot of talk here). As usual...feel free to leave a comment if you agree, disagree or if you have something to point out in the world of sports.

A very good night/day to everyone checking in (that goes double and triple for Hazel if she's peeking in)

The song of the day on Hazelspeeps (which is growing every day now - I'm guessing from visitors to this blog) - in honour of the prospect of Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund linking up with Mats Sundin...with Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk welcoming a fellow Toronto boy Jeff O'Neill...all in the name of winning a cup for the Toronto Maple Leafs... I give you

Reunited - Peaches and Herb (a cheezy R&B/soul love song from the 80's).

I hope that ends this entry with a know who has a great smile? a smile that lights up a room? a smile that....

Peesth Out.

Monday, July 25, 2005

What A Way To Start Off A Week

Hey to anyone and everyone checking in - from the usual suspects (aka as "peeps"), to those who checking in semi-regularly, to those who have happened by this page for the first time - to of course...the inspiration for this blog (if she's peeking in - who knows).

The week started off with me buying a new car - a big woo hoo on that one. I can't wait to pick it up on Thursday. The weekend was great, but I paid for it this evening. I met my running buddy for a 5 km run (we had agreed over the weekend that we would meet up today for a "short" run) - I kept up fine, even with the heat this evening (38+C). We did our 5 km in 24+ mins - she didn't break much of a sweat though. Let's just say that after a weekend of BBQ and pints - I'm glad I finished in less than 25 mins...and that I didn't hold her up too much. Quiet night in MLB - so Rogers carried the Sox on NESN (thank you Rogers) - the Sox lost, but I don't have to tell anyone what the highlight of the broadcast I? To sum it up in one word..."Damn". I'll shut up now and move on...but I gotta say - we still miss Hazel.

The bloodletting has begun - the Flyers and the Red Wings have kicked things off with a number buyouts. I don't know what things are like in hockey cities south of the border - Boston, NY, Philadelphia and Chicago...and I haven't been able to listen to the Fan 590 in Toronto; but I can say that things in Ottawa are getting a bit silly. The Ottawa media is linking most of the top free agents to the Senators - if you listen to the media the Senators have a pretty good shot (if not the inside track) of landing, in no particular order:

Gary Roberts - the reasoning goes that Toronto doesn't have room under the cap to sign him (funny how the OTTAWA media is making that call) and Roberts would love to stay in Ontario and play for a team like the Senators...If Roberts signs with Ottawa...I'll be sick. Oh, and another little pearl is that if/when Roberts signs with Ottawa, he'll bring along Joe Nieuwendyk because, as the Ottawa media says) they want win a cup together.

Mike Modano - yes, the Dallas captain might be bought out by the stars...and surprise surprise, he'd like to play in Ottawa if he doesn't join his buddy Brett Hull in Phoenix. So to get this straight...Modano, with no ties to Ottawa...would like to come play here. As Dr. Evil would say "Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight."

Bobby Holik - Yes, the same Bobby Holik who is disliked by the Ottawa media for his "Edgy...bordering on dirty play" - but now...he'd be welcomed into the fold for her "grit and toughness". Who'da thunk it?

It is only a matter of time before some of these bozos start talking about how Peter Forsberg, Markus Naslund and every other blue chip free agent has expressed an interest in playing in Ottawa...or suggesting that the Senators are so deep behind the blue line...that they can trade Chris Phillips for a front line centre. Muckler is on every night muttering the same thing about how he likes his hockey they are going to be better with another year under their they are going to be a lot more agressive under Bryan Murray...the same stuff they always spout...tonight he actually admitted that they needed to get tougher to play against Toronto.

The Ottawa media is already planning the cup parade - Pierre MacGuire (TSN Analyst) continues to audition for a job with the Senators. He was on this morning talking about how the Senators are in a great position - how they should be seen as front runners for the cup this year (along with the Flyers) and how they are going to get a great player in the draft - blah blah blah. He's really one of the most annoying sports personalities that has come along in a while. God it's July and I'm already hating on the Senators.

Let's see how the week goes...I'll be very interested in seeing what happens with Mr. Ferguson and the Leafs. To all Leaf fans (Hazel included...she can't be a Bruin fan...she just can't switch) - let's say a prayer and hope that they can re-sign Roberts and Joe N - and pick up another guy or two who can make a difference (I've heard rumblings about Glen Murray of the Bruins...that could work).

More to come on the NHL in subsequent entries this week. I know tonights entry is a bit disjointed and doesn't flow...but I got off to a late start (watching the game tonight was worth it) and I have a headache...and you don't care about the rest.

So I'll end this by thanking you for checking and reading this...please feel free to leave a comment....add your thoughts on anything...submit a story that deserves more attention or anything else that crosses your mind (lets try to stay away from super negative stuff).

The Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps at yahoo - for the bloodletting that is going to take place in the NHL this week...with buyouts and free agent movement...with tongue firmly planted in cheek -

Bed's Too Big Without You - The Police (a classic from Regatta de Blanc).

Goodnight one and all...and Hazel if she's peeking in after her show tonight.

Peesth Out.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Forget Weird Wednesdays

Hey peeps, and anyone else checking in.

Week 1 of the vacation is down and was pretty damn good - which is why I've been negligent in posting...especially the Wednesday entry. Given the events of the last week...Weird Wednesdays may now give way to F'd up Fridays. Where to start? Where else but...

While some hockey fans rejoice, I have one question "Can this league be taken seriously anymore?" There are so many reasons that "we" as hockey fans should ask ourselves this question...and in turn, question the level of our commitment and interest in a game whose principle figures have little or no regard for the people paying the freight - that would you, Hazel and every other fan of the game.

I can't stand seeing Gary Bettman talking about the owners and players building a partnership - I'm tired of hearing about how they had to get back on the ice for the good of the game and "for the fans" - they did it for the good of their wallets. The "partnership" means that players have a vested interest in helping NHL owners get every single cent they can from the fans - its all about revenues - remember what Roenick said "that he wants the fans who spend the money to go to the game" - the rest of them (us) can kiss his ass. The fans are an afterthought to this new brotherhood of dunces.

I saw Ed Snider talking today about how the league had to come back to reality - that believe it or not...even the Philadelphia Flyers lost money. Oh, ok Ed...Eddie...Edward - you and the Philadelphia Flyers need a cap because you lost money - why not think about running your team like a business or even a quality hockey operation and FIRE Bob Clarke. What has he done to keep his job? Bob's Clarke's accomplishments include a number of bad trades, free agent signings, and spending money recklessly and without a lot of thought - but you are going to tell me that a General Manager, whose incompentance has only been eclipsed by Glen Sather...your GM is not to blame for the bad decisions, its the NHL environment. Now with "cost certainty" or "salary cap" or whatever Bod Goodenow was calling it to save face...are GMs going to have any excuses any more?

Will Bob Clarke be fired if the Flyers don't do something of note in the next two to three years?

Will Glen Sather lose his job if he can't build the Rangers into a contender? (even with all the buyouts - he can almost start from scratch)

What about John Muckler? I heard him on the radio the other day...he's putting all his faith in Dominik Hasek...a 41 year old goalie who hasn't played in three years.

What about our guy - John Ferguson? he mortgaged the future for a shot at the cup...this new round of free agency might help him....but if it doesn't...does he get canned?

How could we talk about GMs that maybe could/should be fired without talking about Mike Milbury - he of the Alexei Yashin deal.

While some of you maybe be looking at this and asking - "what does this have to do with a salary cap or the current state of the NHL" - good question. It has everything to do with it - they let the NHL get this way...they expanded too fast and too much...the talented was watered down to the point that big money was being thrown at (and commanded by) guys who hadn't done enough to pull in that kind of cash. The money got ridiculous in some instances...all in the hopes of building a winner quickly (hello Glen Sather) or adding a piece of the puzzle (Hello Bob Clarke, John Ferguson Jr., John Muckler - yes..for adding guys like DeVries and Bondra)...or teams like St. Louis who have spent outrageous sums of money for nothing. So rather than admit that they messed up...they use the expiry of the collective agreement to lock out the players and blame the state of the game on the money being spent and salaries being out of whack, and the difference between big and smaller market teams (funny when teams like NJ and Tampa Bay have won cups and NY, Toronto, Philly, Boston and Chicago are dying for a Cup).

How does this address the quality of the game? - It doesn't. I said it a few days ago...the deal is about EXPANSION - cost certainty means that they owners aren't going to lose money...and this means that they can start planning to sell more franchises. Laugh all you want...but the process has started.

It started with the rule changes...these rule changes "to make the game more appealing" is but another way to cover up or gloss over the lack of true calibre NHL talent. The goalies are going to wear smaller equipment and will have their movements restricted; the red line is going to be eliminated to increase the flow of the game; there is going to be a shootout at the end of a tie game because the fans want it (who are these fans? I have not heard Canadian hockey fans talking about it); everything and they mean EVERYTHING is going to be called...

All this...rather than admit that the problem with the NHL is that there are too many teams...too few players...too little interest...and too few sources of revenue. They argue that the rule changes will make the game more appealing - that it will be better for the fans...better for TV...just plain better. Well, that remains to be seen - I still think they are trying to pass mediocrity off as parity. The NHL is going to be something like the NBA...NBA teams have 5 very good players...3 more players to fill in...and four who rarely see the floor. The NHL is going that way...NHL teams are going to follow the blueprint of the Chicago Blackhawks of the late 80's and 90's where they had a great starting six - and then a very mediocre supporting cast...The Blackhawks would horsewhip those six guys and ride them to great regular seasons (ask Chelios and Suter...ask Roenick, Amonte, Denis Savard, Steve Larmer...ask Eddie Belfour)...but by April they were dead. Most NHL teams are going to look like that...maybe two forward lines (big maybe) - two defensive pairings...and one goalie..everyone else is interchangeable.

They are also going about it in a very clever way - divisional play...building divisional rivalries. The Eastern Conference won't see much of the Western Conference - so fans won't really get to see that the whole damn league is watered down. Let me get this straight...the NHL wants to promote the "great game of hockey" but fans won't get to see teams in the other is this good for the game? You don't want some of the great stars of the league to travel across the country...all in the name of divisional rivalries.

If they can get us to buy this...look for expansion to start in Quebec City and's heartland...followed by Tulsa, Houston, Milwaukee and maybe Indianapolis.

Everyone seems to be really excited about what this week of free agency will bring - I'm going to take a wait and see approach...but my gut tells me that the NHL will be a lot different by next Saturday...and some of the small market teams will still be complaining that they can't compete on the ice...Uncle Gary will tell them to shut up - that they should be happy that they have a deal in place that lets them turn a profit...and THAT is what is good for the game.

Thanks again for checking in...peeps...Hazel (if she's peeking) and "you" for spending the time to read another crazy rant...but I gotta ask..."What does Hazel think of the NHL these days...I'd really like to know"

More to follow tomorrow...probably hockey trades...etc.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps at yahoo for the NHL Partners

Money - Pink Floyd.
"Don't give me that do goody good bulls**t"

Peesth out gang.

Issss Beautiful Eddaaaay

Hey peeps, and anyone else checking in

So far it has been a great vacation (which is why I have been negligent in checking in and updating) - and from the title of this entry, and the reference to an Eddie Murphy comedy bit - you probably know that I have over indulged tonight (family over for a bbq/party). I'm not "happy" enough to do or say anything stupid, so I'm sorry if I have disappointed anyone checking in. There is plenty to report on/talk about...but not tonight/this morning.

I don't know if anyone is a regular reader (I would hope someone is...especially - oh...never mind, I'm not going to get into that again) - but if you have checked in more than once - I have a running buddy now. Last week, when I was out on a run, someone I have seen a number of times while on my runs, asked me if she could join me (her regular partner was out with a severely sprained ankle or something). She's way ahead of me, which probably explains why I have been whipped back into running groove - did 7.5 km in 35 minutes today...trying to keep up with her.

Things are good here...sorry for boring anyone with this entry. Speaking of which, thank you again to anyone who is a regular/semi-regular reader...this blog has been visited many more times than I ever expected - I hope it has worth the time you invested in stopping by ... the next entry will take aim at the NHL, the NFL and sports radio.

But for now...I'm out of here.

Song of the day on Hazelspeeps at yahoo - in honour of tonights blog title...and my bbq night -

Respect - Aretha Franklin

as Eddie's dad would sing...

RESPTT find out what you mean to me...

Peesth out peeps

Monday, July 18, 2005

Take A Pill Will Ya

Evenin peeps and anyone else who checking in tonight or whenever it may be.

Day 1 of my vacation ( started Friday at lunch when I bolted - the patio across the street from work was calling). Maybe its just me, but does it seem to you that everyone went nuts this weekend? Seriously, this was one funny weekend - where to start?

First off, congratulations to Rafael Palmeiro on his 3,000 hit. The guy has been a class act his whole career (even when he was an unhappy Cub - Cubs fans...don't you wish they had gotten rid of Mark Grace?) Rafael Palmeiro...take a bow, for your accomplishments on the field - but above all...for being one of the good guys in baseball (no matter what Canseco said).

Red Sox Nation is up in arms - it's everybody's fault. It is Dale Sveum (a terrible 3rd base coach according to the board), it is Terry Francona making bad calls (he should have pinch hit for Cora etc), no one is hitting or pitching - so why isn't Epstein making a trade yet? One guy even went on record saying they were the worst team ever - now that is funny on a Red Sox board. Come on Red Sox Nation - they are just in the midst of a slump that every team goes through once or twice a year - you know, the kind the O's just got over - which allowed you to catch them and overtake them. Take a pill gang...but I will say this - while you seem to be obsessed with the Yankees (which is normal) - the O's are getting healthy and look like they are ready to go on another little charge (Eric Bedard - a Canadian) is back, Sosa seems to be hitting a bit...the O's are getting a few clutch hits...when their bats wake up, watch out! stay tuned.

New York Yankees fans are back to being their arrogant, brash, obnoxious selves with the run they have been on. Yankees fans, forget it...its not going to happen for you this year. Your pitching staff is going to get hit hard in the second half of the season - have you been paying attention to how hittable Randy Johnson is? Al Leiter isn't the answer - it was a good game on Sunday, but a 39 year old is going to have those once in a while. Mussina has pitched well, but certainly isn't a stopper anymore. Pavano has shown nothing this year. You had a good series against the Sox, but it was just that - a series. They'll come back and get you.

So before you discount the 1st part of the season as "just a bad start" - think twice...its going to happen a few more times in the second half - your pitching staff is too old, they aren't going to be get you through a 7 game series.

Toronto Blue Jays fans got slapped back to reality this past weekend (apologies to Hazel Mae if she's reading this). If you were holding out any hope that this team could contend with Halladay gone for any period of time, I ask you - what in the hell are you smoking or injesting? The Jays are ok, but just ok. The reason they are in contention at this point in the season is that the stars lined up - the Sox and the Yankees haven't been as good as expected, but they are still much better than the Jays...and the O's put things together this year. I heard the Chickenhawk talking on a broadcast this weekend - pointing out that one of the things that has hurt the Jays this year has been (say it all together peeps) "situational hitting" - they aren't getting situational hitting...but the Chickenhawk chalks that up to the team being young. I still don't buy that crap - and Jays fans shouldn't either. They aren't that young...Zaun, Wells, Hillenbrand, Catalanatto have been around long enough to be out of the "young" category...Eric Hinske has had enough at-bats over the last 2+ years to be considered veteran - I still don't think he's in the bottom half of corner infielders when it comes to hitting. Well, it doesn't matter - no matter what the Chickenhawk says...this team isn't going anywhere, you don't have the payroll to compete with the big boys. So reality check/pill before you start talking about what could have been...I don't think so.

The NHLPA has not ratified the deal agreed to by the principles. Ya...they haven't ratified the deal - they've come out and admitted defeat, what makes anyone think they aren't going to accept it. It would show me something if they did...but that doesn't seem like its going to happen.

Maple Leafs Nation (of which I am a member) is dreaming of a number of free agent signings that include...but would not be limited to - Markus Naslund from Vancouver ($5 Million), Scott Niedermeyer ($4-5 Million) - then here is where we get dreamy... the logic goes that if the Ferguson signs these two...he can make a case to other free agents that this team is really going for the Cup...playing on Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk's affinity to Toronto to get them to sign cheap, thus attracting even more high level talent to take a pay cut to make the Toronto Maple Leafs the NHL's equivalent of last year's Red Sox. I'm betting the Leaf Cup party would out do Boston's celebration - before any of "hazelspeeps" email me with hate mail...remember one thing - our party is going national...Coast to Coast. I guess there could only be one real judge of the celebrations huh? A person who experienced Boston's first hand, and a person who would almost certainly come home to celebrate her beloved's Leafs first cup in her lifetime...don't ya think? But Leaf much as I want to buy into this one...I think we all need to take a pill (especially those of "us" that think we are getting much as I wish....).

There's a lot more to write weekend working outside and listening to sports radio...but that is for tomorrow night I's late...I'm exhausted...and I've got to haul ass up early tomorrow morning.

Night to everyone...and especially to you

Song of the Day at Hazelspeeps...for fans who are hallucinating about their teams (hello Jays and Yankees fans) those stressing and obsessing about their boys (big shout out to Red Sox Nation) those of us dreaming of a Maple Leafs team that is an All-Star team...

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds - the Beatles (not a fan of them...but)

Everyone needs a big peeps...its summer...its all good!

Peesth out!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

NHL Deal On Wednesday - Weird Huh?

Hey to anyone checking in; from the usual suspects who know that Wednesdays here highlight some of the more "interesting" sports stories (read weird, silly and downright stupid) to those who have are visiting for the first (and hopefully not last) time.

I must have gotten 20 emails at work Wednesday - "A Done Deal" - "They're Baaaaack" - "See You In September" - and because it was me and my email "Leafs Suck - and now they are really gonna suck" (Hey, I was born a Leaf fan...and that's not going to change).

So Canada rejoices with the news that the deal is done - I'm sure some of our friends down south are also jumping for joy (I can think of a member of Leaf Nation in Boston that might be smiling). I can't join in the festivities - I'm still disgusted with the business of the NHL, on so many levels:
  • from the owners who cancelled an NHL season to protect themselves from their own stupidity - I guess the millions of dollars they paid in legal fees will be recouped over the life of the agreement...from the fans of course, even with the small reduction in ticket prices at most areans this year (according to today's Toronto Star).

  • to the players, who let a season go down the toilet because of their "principles" and for the "good of the future players of the NHL" - only to fold and admit to being beaten down by the owners, "We didn't know they were so rich - We didn't think they'd go on this long - We didn't think they were this strong" in the "word" of Dr. Evil "Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight". What in the hell were you thinking? You are dealing with billionaires!

  • to the spokepersons for both sides - I stopped watching reports when I couldn't take listening to Ted Saskin and Bill Daly spouting the same crap over and over - funny how they clued in a few weeks ago that they should acknowledge the fans.
So while hockey fans rejoice - I submit this for your consideration. We weren't even considered in this multi-billion dollar deal...imagine that. In any other business, organizations would conduct market research, talk to the consumer, cater to their customers. Not the NHL though - they just took for granted that fans would continue to pay the tab without balking or batting an eye...and while that will probably be the case, I think this deal is the beginning of the end for true fans of the NHL. We are going to see an NHL where teams have five or six core players and the rest are interchangeable - players will be shuffled around, released, traded, or just unsigned because of cap restrictions. The NHL will attempt to cover this up, deflect attention from this by instituting a series of rule changes "to make the game more appealing to the fans." They are talking about everything from - reducing the size of goalie equipment, to shootouts, to 3-3 in overtime, to having the refs call everything, to taking out the red line, get the point.

NHL owners and players are counting on the fact that the fans will buy this, the product won't change, the problems with the game won't change, the attendance problems won't change, the lack of interest (television wise) won't change - it can't change, the same players will be there (albeit on different teams), the same coaches will be there (Jacques Lemaire can coach any team to be like the Wild), the same systems (the trap or the left wing lock, or "good positional hockey") will still be employed to allow lesser players to play on equal ground with better players.

The only thing that will change is that billionaires will now be guaranteed that they will make money. This deal tells me that the NHL is selling logos, emblems, team crests - banking on the fact that fans won't care who is wearing their beloved colours, just as long as those jerseys and benches are being filled by someone. The NHL players - the product - are secondary...the owners plan all along was to make players see that they were expendable - the old adage, "if you don't want to play for X number of dollars...there will be 20 guys dying to take your place". This deal is about one thing and one thing only... E-X-P-A-N-S-I-O-N.

Don't laugh, the NHL keeps talking about generating interest in the US...but think about it for a second. If they generate some interest (which I doubt), what better way to get rich, deep pockets to buy into the NHL than with a guarantee that you will make money on your investment with a league that operates under "cost-certainty". I know this sound crazy, maybe you think its downright stupid - but consider this, these geniuses are the guys that put hockey teams in "hockey hotbeds" like Phoenix, Miami, North Carolina. Canadian fans will know that potential investors in Winnipeg and Quebec City had gone on record saying that they could support an NHL team with a salary cap of $35 million (and that was BEFORE our dollar started catching up to the greenback). And if Winnipeg and Quebec City get franchises, what's to stop other cities in the US with a bigger population base? Tulsa comes to mind, so does Houston, they have both had hockey you can bet the NHL will go back for more (see Atlanta).

You think they aren't going to push the NHL for a franchise?
You think NHL owners would balk at some free expansion money? (starting price now will probably be in the $100 - $150 million range)

Contrary to what is being said - "making the game more appealing for the fans" and all that other crap - the NHL is trying to pass off mediocrity as parity.
  • If they can get the fans used to a league that is more sideshow than about the essence of the game (selling it to markets that have no history with or connection to hockey) rules changes that are more reminiscent of the shinny we played as kids...or lacrosse;

  • If they can get fans to buy a league that has five or six very good players on every team instead of the teams with 3 very good lines and 2 defensive pairings;

  • If they can get fans to accept the fact that every team is equally "adequate" as opposed to being good and competitive...
They win - they crush the NHLPA and the pull one over on the fans of the NHL. Lets see what the NHL looks like in September - after the free-agent frenzy that is expected to happen...the league will be forever changed and not in a good way.

I wonder what Hazel Mae's thoughts on this issue would be. :-)

Ok...after two nights of trying to get this all down...I know I've forgotten some strokes of genius...but I'll get them back on here at a later date. Oh think it's a coincidence that the NHL and the PA agreed to a deal on a Wednesday? What the people will do to get some "air time" on Thoughts of Hazel Mae.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - in honour of the Owners getting the deal they wanted.

Hush - LL Cool J (chorus only)

Hush little baby wanna let you know
This is how its gonna go
If you wanna come and play
Come and do it my way my way my way

Wicked Wednesday Storm

It's been storming here tonight - power has gone out twice and I haven't been able to finish the weird wednesday entry for this week...led of course by the NHL Deal.

There is so much to say about today's deal and so little electrical power to keep the computer running tonight. So if anyone checked into tonight for weird wednesday laughs...sorry.

Given the situation here of the day/night on Hazelspeeps at yahoo is - what else

"Lightening Crashes" - Live.

Night to one and all...

Peesth out.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Not So Weird Week To Recap

Evenin' peeps, Hazel (if you are sneaking a peek) and anyone else checking in who isn't one of the aforementioned.

I'm A Good Catholic Boy
Bless me Father for I've been a fat-ass. It has been 2 weeks since my last run. I turned my back on the tranquility, peace, and simple pleasure that running brought me - turning instead to shovels, wheelbarrels, crushed stone, bricks, and a gas powered stone packer with a vibrating plate that any women would love to for a day...or a weekend even! was a joke, I wasn't being blasphemous - hell, I'm Portuguese Catholic, everyone is just pretending compared to us! Anyone checking in from Boston, Fall River or other places in Mass would agree with me. I wonder if Hazel has hit one of our bakeries down there for a "nata" or two.

I can't be too upset with tonight's run - after all, it has been two weeks. I ran 6 km in about 30 minutes, which if you have read this blog in the past you would know that it is still within acceptable limits for me (1km every 5 minutes). While I wasn't unhappy with tonight's run, it still is about 2 minutes slower than three weeks ago - and I was carrying about 3 - 5 extra pounds then. But I'll make it up over the next couple of weeks...10 km run in August).

If It Wasn't For Bad Luck
It was a pretty quiet week in terms of the weird in MLB this week - that is, unless you count what is happening to the Los Angeles Dodgers. This week saw LA place Cesar Izturis and J.D Drew (who could be gone for the rest of the season) on the DL...Jeff Kent is hurt too. I never seen a team get hit this bad - GM Paul Depodesta is trying to make some deals...but I don't think he can pull LA out of this one. I feel your pain Paul - I'm going through the same thing with Hazel's Heroes, everyone is breaking down on me (Beckett, Eaton, Prior has been on and off, Pettite left tonight's game)...but we are hanging tough.

What The Foulke Happened?
Keith Foulke was put on the DL today and will have arthroscopic surgery on his knee. What is the significance for a Wednesday night entry? Well, apparently the Sox asked Foulke to have his knee examined after the World Series last year - he declined. Red Sox Nation are not happy with Foulke right now - I can't say that I blame them. Johnny Burger King would have had his knee checked out last year - guess that puts him one step ahead of Foulke. Red Sox Nation - your wish has come true...for better or worse, you will experience life without Foulke. Good luck to you...I wouldn't hold my breath that Epstein will trade for a type flight closer - not without parting with one of your blue chippers that you love so much.

Kenny Rogers put on a very humble face and apologized for his actions last week - all this while he is appealing his suspension...and likely picking up his $50,000 bonus for an all-star appearance.

I won't get into "the deal" - there are more open letters to be written in this space.

Sean Avery of the Kings loses his mind and goes off on Bob Goodenow. Avery crapped all over Bob and by extension the union - protraying them as misguided fools who were brainwashed. I wonder how many beatings he is going to take from his peers when the NHL gets back to playing.

Bob Probert is in trouble again, this time he's being charged with assaulting a police officer. Think Bob should suit up and join the Enforcers tour. Probert is perhaps the most troubled NHLer of all time. I say that because for all the problems Derek Sanderson had...I don't remember him being in trouble with the law like Probert has been.

London won the right to host the 2012 Olympics - this came as a great shock, since to most "experts", the Paris bid was the front runner. An interesting comment on the radio this morning from a Sports Illustrated columnist - he said that the vote could very well come down to what city the committee would rather see/visit. Go figure.

That's about it for tonight - if you see anything unusual in the world of sports...feel free to post a comment.

The song of the day/night on Hazelspeeps at yahoo - for the 1st run in three weeks (a tough one to say the least) and for the London bid to host the olympics...

Chariots of Fire - Vangelis

You remember...the instrumental with a guy running...I never cared for the song myself, but it applies tonight.

Goodnight peeps...night to you too Ms. Hazel Mae (if you got here...and got this far) and goodnigh to you...yes you...thanks for checking in. I hope it wasn't a complete waste of time for you.

Peesth out.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

An Open Letter To J.R

evenin' peeps, Hazel (if your name is Hazel and your last name isn't Mae...keep reading) and anyone else who isn't one of the aforementioned but is checking in tonight or whenever.

Happy Belated 4th of July to all of the "peeps" and readers checking in from the U.S. Happy long weekend to Hazel too - noticed she wasn't on the NESN broadcast picked up by Rogers last night - that sucks.

Mondays on "Thoughts of Hazel Mae" are weekend recap entries - I'm going to break with what has become tradition and instead devote some time to address Jeremy Roenick of the Philadelphia Flyers - and in particular his shameful display at Mr. Mario Lemieux's charity golf tournament. This is probably unnecessary, but I will say it anyways - the thoughts and opinions expressed have not be authored, reviewed, approved or sanctioned by Ms. Hazel Mae - though I'd like to think she might smile and agree with some of what I have to say.

To Jeremy Roenick
Your actions over the past 10 days have left me thinking that you don't deserve to be addressed with the term "Mister" - not out of respect or courtesy. Your actions were more reminiscent of an obnoxious teenager, rather than a grown man who was speaking for his industry/colleagues/peers. This letter will still show you more respect that you have shown fans of the NHL and of hockey in general.

I watched in disgust as you launched into an adolescent diatribe about how much NHL players are giving up in this round of collective bargaining. I watched you, with contempt in your eyes and venom in your demeanour, lash out at fans of the game - I won't get into specifics, you know what you said; everyone who watched you heard what you said. Out of respect for the person this blog is named for (Hazel Mae) - I won't hurl obscenities at you, which you so richly deserve and likely all you understand - I don't think that would be her way of addressing this if she was speaking to you.

I would start by asking, what made you think using a charity golf tournament as your forum would be a good idea? How dare you use a venue that is about helping the less fortunate to put yourself and the NHLPA at the forefront? You spoke about how much money you were losing, how much money other players were losing, all to get the game back on the ice for the fans and for the good of the game. Please don't patronize us, or talk to us like we are fools - you signed the deal because:
  1. you saw it wasn't going to get any better for your union - you said yourself that you knew the PA should have signed the deal in February, that the you guys were going to get a worse deal...this was as good as you were going to get - for yourself (spare me the "my family" nonsense).

  2. your membership is crumbling - while multi-millionaires like yourself could have held out another year, a good portion of your membership couldn't...they don't make as much as you and the other "stars". You guys folded, it sickened me to hear your membership (your peers) talk about how you guys were going to sign a deal that would hurt future players in the NHL. Tell that to Sidney Crosby (who's rookie signing bonus will be capped). You guys rolled on "the future" NHLers - you don't care about anyone but yourselves. The deal you are about to sign shows that - there is no getting around it, for all the talk of the PA, you guys sold the future of the game.

  3. the NHL (both owners and players) have come to the frightening realization that your fans (I mean that in the collective sense - I'm not sure how many you personally have right now) have gotten along fine without hockey. Some filled the void with the NBA, others with European soccer, and others found something else to do. If you don't believe that, the next time you are in Toronto or Ottawa hit a mall and see what kind of jerseys kids are wearing these days - a lot of Lebron jerseys, lots of Beckham jerseys - not too many NHL jerseys. You came to the realization that you are losing market share plain and simple.
All this to say we know the NHLPA didn't agree to any deal for the fans or for the good of the game - you signed it for the good of your bank accounts. There is nothing wrong with signing for your own self interests - just be man enough to admit it, don't blame the fans of the NHL.

You attacked fans of the game Jeremy - not necessarily fans of the NHL. I'm not talking about you personally telling any fan who has the audacity to think that todays players are spoiled, to kiss your ass. Your attack on fans shows a real disconnect on your part (probably the PA too) and shows a disturbing level of ignorance. You said it clearly, it's all about the money - you want the fans that come to pay to watch you play. What you failed to take into consideration is that the fans who don't pay to go watch the NHL at an arena (probably because you have priced it out of the reach of many...and more than likely because people aren't going to pay $100 bucks a pop for what you are showing)...Jeremy, these people watch the games on television.

See Jeremy, television is a way to promote your game and bring in revenues - some teams make good money from television revenues. Your commissioner and players association wants to see television audiences increase (somewhere about the Pro Bowlers Association would be nice) so that the NHL can charge national networks more that a $1.50 (yes...a buck fifty) for television rights. So Jeremy, those people you don't care about, they mean revenue to the NHL and by extension you. They watch television, they might even buy a jersey or a hat or a t-shirt or something to bring revenue to the NHLPA. I wouldn't expect you to realize that, given that you are too worried about feeding your family and stuff like that - stuff that everyday stiffs and fans of the NHL wouldn't possibly understand. It would serve you and the NHL right if the dumb fans stayed away for a few games - a boycott of the 1st 10 games of the season, and no merchandise...that would send a message.

Enough said about your embarassment at the golf tournament. You couldn't leave "bad enough" alone - after insulting hockey fans, you went back on television a few days later, making a buffoon of yourself telling us that we didn't understand what you were trying to say. You love the fans, you want the fans...the media...that damn media huh Jeremy? The media who filmed you...who let you keep talking...they did it to you. Jeremy, that is almost as offensive as what you had said the week before. I guess you were read the riot act by the NHL and the PA - but that performance (yes, I said performance) stripped away any shred of credibility you had (for being a straight shooter). I can only say that it was a complete and utter sham - and embarassment to you and the fooled no one, least of all any self-respecting fan of the game.

After all this nonsense, you should consider yourself lucky. I think you have gotten off rather lightly. The media has let you off the hook; they haven't roasted you to the extent they should have - probably because someone who talks as much as you is always good for a quote a day and their livelihood hinges on people like you continuing to talk. But if American hockey writers knew you like Canadians do - if knew how much you have talked throughout your career, even going back to the Hull Olympics - they'd know that you are incapable of not'll always come back to talk.

I will end this letter by saying this - while on a number of levels I find your recent actions deplorable, disrespectful and disgusting - I by no means am foolish enough to think that you are the only player in the NHL that holds these views. I think a great number of your peers feel the same way - except they are smart enough to keep their opinions to themselves.

So Jeremy Roenick, in a way I guess through all this mess you can be looked at as a hero of sorts - you have confirmed to me and to a number of other fans that today's players are indeed spoiled, disrespectful, ungrateful brats...all the things you fought so hard to show fans you weren't.

Does this mean I have to pucker up now?


A coming to be "former fan" of the NHL

That's it for me gang...I'm out for the night. I hope you see some value in it...if Hazel is peeking (I hope you smiled and nodded - our secret...hahaha). If you now J.R - pass it along to him.

The song of the day on Hazelspeeps at yahoo - in honour of our friend Jeremy Roenick

You Talk Too Much - Run DMC

You talk too much
You never shut up
I said you talk too much
Oh boy you never shut up

twenty four hours
eight days a week
thirteen months in a year
is when you speak

If you haven't heard it...a rap classic from the 80's.
Peesth Out

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